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CIfA: Professionalising archaeology

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Written by Roma Publications

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists

In December 2014 the Institute for Archaeologists became chartered.

The newly renamed and rebranded Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, or CIfA for short, is now embarking on a campaign to inform client groups of the need to professionalise archaeology.

As well as raising the profile of the positive benefits archaeology can bring to development projects, CIfA aims to ensure that professional archaeologists have a central role in delivering those benefits.

So what is a professional archaeologist and why should you be interested? Procuring the services of accredited, and therefore professional, archaeologist reduces risk.

Unfortunately many archaeologists and archaeological businesses, which offer their services commercially, have no accredited competence, are not bound by an ethical code and are not accountable. For the work to be done to the highest possible standards, on time and on budget, you need to ensure that you are commissioning professionally accredited archaeologists.

And by involving professionally accredited archaeologists early in your project, you ensure the right skills are in place to interpret and fulfill your obligations and plan your resources. Delays, deliberations and conflicts are minimised.

A professional archaeologist is someone who has demonstrated to CIfA that they have the skills and ethics to carry out work to relevant, high standards. Professional archaeologists are accredited by CIfA, sign up to the CIfA Code of Conduct and commit to carrying out 50 hours of CPD over two years to maintain and enhance their skills. Accreditation is the most common form of competence recognition for many different professions and CIfA believes that archaeologists should be treated no differently.

You may need professional archaeological services if you are carrying out investigations prior to the purchase of a development site, if you are working within the planning process and you need someone to help you meet a planning condition or you are developing a project.

CIfA has produced a client guide to help. It explains what you need to do and why you need a professional archaeologist to help you through the process. Following this guide will increase your chances of reaping benefits from your archaeological work and avoiding some of the possible hazards of working in the historic environment. The client guide will be available online from 18th March 2015 at


About the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists

CIfA is the leading professional body representing archaeologists working in the UK and overseas. The organisation promotes high professional standards and strong ethics in archaeological practice, to maximise the benefits that archaeologists bring to society. CIfA is the authoritative and effective voice for archaeologists, bringing recognition and respect to the profession.


Excavations at the recently completed Bloomberg London development, undertaken by MOLA, were recognised as the Best Archaeological Project by the British Archaeological Awards in 2014. MOLA is one of 74 organisations registered with CIfA, the details for all can be found on the CIfA website © MOLA.

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